100% Raw Easterns meet report

Before the meet I had the following checklist:
  1. new raw squat PR
  2. maintain bench press levels
  3. successfully use hook grip in competition
My training had gone well enough to suggest 1 and 2 were attainable and, aside from a comical fall last week, 3 was sure to happen, the only thing I didn't know was how heavy it would let me go.

I ended up weighing in at 107 kgs, comfortably under the 110 kg limit but significantly far from the next lower weight class at 100 kg.  A few weeks ago when I woke up at a surprisingly light 231.5 lbs (105 kgs), I thought there might be a chance I could cut a few pounds and lift at 100 kgs.  Alas, it was not to be as a few cheeseburgers and pizzas soon got me up to my then normal weight of 240-245 lbs.  After that fiasco of gluttony, I decided to implement the "slow-carb diet" as a strategy to gain control over my crazy tendency to over-eat.  So far it has seemed to work as my weight was hovering around 234-235 prior to meet weigh-in this morning.  I may still yet lift as a 100 kg lifter but it'll be sometime in the future.  Right now my goal is to gain control over my eating habits and let my weight settle on its own.  Luckily for now, I'm losing weight but I'm not overly concerned with calorie counting while on this plan.

My squat warm-ups went well, I had a very slight twinge in the area usually associated with piriformis or sciatic pain but other than being noticeable, there was no apparent effect on my ability to squat.  Earlier I had planned to lower my opening attempt to 200 kgs (440 lbs) and the warm up gave me no reason to change from this plan.  My opening attempt was successful although I didn't feel like it was as fast as I would've liked.

I stuck with my plan of going for a small PR on my second attempt and requested 207.5 kgs (457 lbs).  After having hit this number or more in the gym over the past few weeks, I felt comfortable that this should be in the bag.  I still felt that way as I un-racked the bar and got in position.  I didn't feel that way about 1/4 of the way out of the hole as the bar stopped and shifted forward.  I got pinned.  When a "should be easy" second attempt doesn't go your way about a thousand thoughts run through your head in the seconds it takes for the spotters to help you back into the rack and on the walk to the scorer's table to enter your next attempt.

I managed to filter out most of them and settle on the two that I felt would be productive:  stop searching for the bottom of the squat and explode out of the hole.  While setting up under the bar, I also heard fellow competitor, Murray Anderson, shout, "SPEED!!!" or something to that effect.  I got the squat command, went down, came back up, fought through a sticking point and completed the lift.  While not the result I was ultimately hoping for, 207.5 kgs was still a 2.5 kg improvement on my last competition and I learned some thing.

Squatting in front of a mirror caused me to rely on seeing my position rather than feeling it leading to crappy competition squatting.  Boy am I ever glad the YMCA put their new power stations in places where there are no mirrors. 

Moving to the bench press, my only goal was to maintain my bench press poundages from the last meet.  My right shoulder has been sufficiently painful to completely stall any attempt to progress the lift and I've just been trying to slow the decline.  The last meet I managed to lift 142.5 kgs (314 lbs) and I knew it would be a tall order to match that because the most I've lifted with a pause in training was 305 lbs.  My opener with 135 kgs (297 lbs) was smooth but not fast and my second attempt with 140 kgs (308 lbs) was slower than steady.
 My max 3 months ago was 2.5 kgs more than this, the rate of decay of my bench press ability seems to be about 0.8 kg/month.  I suppose I could see a health care professional about this...

Finally, deadlifts.  I always look forward to the deadlift, not because it's my best lift but because it means the meet is almost over.  Invariably, I have more fun training for a competition than actually lifting in the competition.  I took my customary abbreviated warm-up routine (3 reps with 275, 1 rep with 440) and waited for my turn to take my opener with 250 kgs (551 lbs).  It went surprisingly well.


An easy 250kg opening attempt, also a meet PR for the hook grip

The 250 kg opener went so well that I decided I might as well take my normal 2nd attempt jump to 275 kgs.  Prior to my adoption of the hook grip, 250-275 was my normal jump but I hadn't pulled anything heavier than 245 kgs this training cycle due to the hook grip and my issue with tearing calluses.  While I was a little uncertain, to use a golf descriptor, "I didn't come all this way to lay up."
Even though it felt like it took forever to come off the floor, it never felt like I was going to miss the lift.

I ended up calling for a third attempt of 280 kgs but it was too much on this day and it didn't even break from the floor.  Despite not actually lifting it, I managed to tear off a callus (for old time's sake?) AGAIN!

So, along with my first place medal (there was only one competitor in my weight/age class), I got yet another torn callus.  At least now I have a good excuse for taking time off from heavy deadlifts for a couple of weeks.

Much thanks to Toronto Rex Powerlifting Team members Mark and Trish Boyle for coming to the meet to support, assist, and video record my lifts.  Thanks also to Barry McEvoy and 100% Raw Powerlifting for a great experience.

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